SBA Expects Quick Turnaround on Disaster Loan Applications

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Businesses that apply for funds from the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program can expect to hear a final decision within 20 days at the most. But that turnaround will likely be much faster, says Robert Scott, director of SBA Region 5.

The first state in his region, Indiana, declared an emergency Wednesday, Scott says, and saw the first wave of approvals go out by the close of business Thursday.

“As of right now, it’s been fairly quick,” he says. “Our processing center is open seven days a week. The customer service line is open seven days a week. Our district offices, all 68 across the country, are taking phone calls. It’s an all hands on deck approach.”

Region 5 includes Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine declared an emergency Thursday, making funds from the SBA program available. Scott says he does not yet have a figure for how many businesses in the state have sent in applications, as the system needs to run for a full 24 hours before a daily report can be compiled. 

“What I do know, and what the district offices know, is that there’s been a ton of businesses applying since it opened up,” he says. 

The SBA system and process is well prepared to handle the tidal wave of applications that will be coming in, Scott says. Two years ago, three major hurricanes hit the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico, causing billions of dollars of damage. 

“It prepared our disaster program to handle the intense volume that comes with that,” he says. “Our disaster team in the field has been prepared for many years. Every state is familiar with the process.”

Applications are open to all businesses in the state, says Gil Goldberg, director of the SBA’s Cleveland District office. There is no cap on the total funds available through the SBA. Businesses are limited to a total of $2 million in loans, though multiple loans can be issued through the program as long as that cap isn’t exceeded.

As part of the disaster loan application, businesses will need to submit an IRS relief form, an income tax statement, personal financial statement (SBA Form 504), a schedule of liabilities (SBA Form 2202) and a tax information authorization form, Scott says.

If a business’ application is denied, a representative from the agency will be in contact within 48 hours, he says.

“We’ll know why and [we can] put them in a position they can come back and get approved if necessary or recommend other resources,” he says.

The administration will also be hosting webinars – “several each day” – to educate business owners on what the loans are for and the application process.

“We have Powerpoint presentations that teach them the process and who is eligible and who is not eligible to apply,” Scott says. “We’re doing it for chambers, for our own system, for Congressional and Senate offices, anyone and everyone that will host us.”

When applying, Scott, Woodel and Goldberg urged businesses to complete their application online. While forms can be mailed in, doing so requires the information to be manually entered into the system and takes time to mail in.

“Our top priority is to help and ensure our small businesses, not only in Ohio but across the United States, stay strong and continue their contributions to local communities and the national economy,” Woodel says.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.